How suite it is
Date: March 1, 2012
Benefits of the new clinical building go beyond bricks and mortar.
Clinicians in the main endoscopy suite have developed heightened kinesthetic ability and quick reflexes to match: Not only can they sense a gurney that’s about to bump them from behind, but they can swivel away without missing a beat in a patient’s interview.
Human traffic jams are but one reason it’s time to move to The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new clinical building.
When the present suite opened in 1985—then, a 2,000-square-foot model of its kind—it was pre-endoscopic ultrasound and before the demand for ERCP, before the need for bedside computer stations and the growing reliance on endoscopy in general to monitor disease.
Now, in short, “we’re bursting at the seams,” says Division Director Tony Kalloo. Beds are full and waits for procedure rooms can be long; ultrasound and fluoroscopy units have to be pushed aside to make room.
Though safety and infection control aren’t compromised, the status quo is less than ideal, Kalloo says, for teaching and innovation.
This May, that all changes. At 18,300 square feet, the new endoscopy suite—the Harvey M. & Lyn P. Meyerhoff Digestive Disease Center—holds roughly twice the number of procedure rooms and they’re double the size. The suite’s expanse “will raise both quality and quantity of endoscopy practice at Hopkins Hospital,” says Kalloo, a key figure in its planning.
Improvements go beyond size. Nine of the 13 new procedure rooms, for example, are lead-lined for CT scanner use. Two have additional sterile capability so clinicians can shift into surgery if endoscopy shows the need.
Biopsied tissue will speed to the new cytopathology lab via chilled pneumatic tubes. A novel barcode system to track endoscope use replaces the old paper surveillance; a state-of-the art washing facility for the scopes raises the safety bar still higher.
“This move takes all my focus and energy,” says Sarah Disney, endoscopy’s operations manager, who’s busy smoothing the transition to a new digital tracking system that displays patient progress from registration through release. That same automation will transform inventory-keeping. “We can now tailor supplies in procedure rooms to match each day’s schedule,” says Disney. “Nothing will sit unused.”
For patients and their families, change means more than an eye-pleasing reception area.
Kalloo actively sought input from past patients and their families—two gutsy sisters were especially articulate—and one result is a second digital patient-tracking display for waiting families. It’s like the clinicians’ version, only HIPAA-friendly to protect privacy. That privacy is also guarded by having separate space for discussions about diagnosis and treatment.
And enclosing the 37 pre-op and recovery bays with walls rather than curtains is not only for privacy, but it means a family member can stay with a patient until endoscopy time.
Training will also benefit. With the sizeable new conference room—one wired to receive live transmissions during endoscopies—“we can teach physicians and nurses in truly realistic situations,” Kalloo says, “asking questions back and forth on actual cases.”
Everyone’s expectations for the new suite run high, says Disney, “but I’ve been surprised to see what we expect from one another change as well.” There’s a rising to the occasion of sorts. “This place,” she says, “is fostering a new culture of excellence.”